As of August 1, there are new child car seat laws in Louisiana, and they are already confusing parents and caregivers. However, it is important for anyone transporting a child in a vehicle to know what the laws are. Not only is the penalty for violating the law fairly steep, but it is also important for child safety.
“Adults must remember that ignorance is not a defense to the law,” says David Laborde of Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers. “Just because the law just came into effect, officers are going to cite drivers if they are not in compliance. For this reason and to keep our children safe on the roads, all parents must understand what the new law dictates.”
So, what are the new child car seat laws? They are the following:
- Children under the age of two must ride in the back seat in a rear-facing seat.
- Children between the ages of two and four can ride in the back seat in a forward-facing seat equipped with a safety harness. However, they can only do this if they have outgrown rear-facing seats.
- Children between the ages of four and nine must ride in the back seat in a booster seat restrained by a lap and shoulder belt.
- Children between the ages of nine and twelve may sit in a booster seat if their knees can fully bend over the front of the seat. Their back must also fully rest along the seat, and the seat belt must cross their chest, not their neck.
These new laws are much different than the old laws in the state. Prior to August 1, babies could sit in a front-facing seat as long as they weighed at least 20 pounds. Children could be restrained by seat belts alone at the age of six if they weighed more than 60 pounds. There was also no restriction on when a child could sit in the front seat.
The new laws are definitely a change from the older version. To avoid more child injuries and deaths, however, it is crucial that all parents follow these laws. Parents and caregivers found in violation of them will receive a $100 fine if a child is not restrained at all, or if a child is not sitting in a seat appropriate for his or her size and weight.